Friday, January 30, 2015

Top 5 Records (January)

1) Washed Out - within and without
2) Royal Blood
3) White Door - windows
4) Ramona Lisa - arcadia
5) Princess


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Zoe Muth - world of strangers

High quality country tunes which tell compelling stories in the best traditions of the genre. Each song is a snapshot of life with a solid and highly enjoyable backing. Zoe sings like someone who has seen it all and now sings about it with a world weary shrug. "Little piece of history" is a superb opener that shuffles along appealingly, the swaggering "April fool" and the totally infectious "Make me change my mind" stand out but the album as a whole wins.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

MV : "Paris is one day away" by The Mood

Classic early 80s tunes and styles!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Even As We Speak - one step forward

Sarah Records, the home of many great pop moments but one of the most upfront pop songs was "One step forward", superbly performed by Even As We Speak. A beautiful mid-tempo pop song with an irresistible chorus which erupts into a funk explosion. Maybe one of the best songs on Sarah in fact.

"Must be something else" is far more Sarah-esque, a laid back and delicate indie pop song though it also has some guts too. "Best kept secret" is also quite low-key but still lovely.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Movie Review : Stoner (1974)

So what did George Lazenby do after playing 007? Well he appeared in a HK action movie...

Dating back to the early 1970s when Bruce Lee was still fresh in people's minds and kung fu and martial arts was big business worldwide (or at least the current in-thing) comes Stoner, starring George Lazenby. Bruce Lee was originally set to star in this fairly standard but slightly odd film but after his untimely death it was decided to make the film anyway.

Solid martial arts skills in the form of Angela Mao was bought in as George's co-star. so let the hard kung-fu action begin! There is a kind of plot, something involving an evil gangster mastermind of course. A villain who has a ridiculously fast rotating desk... excellent! The (evil) master mind is creating explosives and drug smuggling in his (evil) underground lair but the plot, such that it is, is largely a bare frame on which to hang a sequence of excellent fighting set pieces.

The result is undeniably cheesy, fairly confusing but also highly entertaining. It is definitely an early 70s period piece and perhaps nothing that original from the time but worth seeing all the same. How many HK kung-fu movies had an ex-James Bond in them after all?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Mood - singles collection

The Mood were a rather obscure English synth pop band from the early 80s who just missed out on chart success and faded away after a few singles... which are all collected here. And the music is very good (and very early 80s). The best track is the instrumental "Waves in motion" with "Passion in dark rooms" and "Is there a reason" also having good solid pop grooves. Its a great collection of synth pop, the only quibble being that as its only drawn from a handful of singles it does start to repeat once you get into the 12" mixes and alternate versions.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Washed Out - within and without

Blissed out as well as washed out is this album of chill wave which despite the name of the genre it is generally attached to is an invigorating experience and a lush soundscape. Its all very stylish, the album looks like an advert for a trendy clothing line and the tunes like "Eyes be closed" seem perfect as advert soundtracks. But there is substance behind the style and its a very fine listen indeed. Not just for those needing to chill after a banging night, great for dreamy afternoons and journeys too.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Best of Top of the Pops 1973

The pick of the 1973 cover versions, as with all cover albums they depend on the strength of the charts they covered. 1973 was a decent year but maybe not the best of the 70s but there are some solid tunes here though the "Blockbuster" cover is a bit weedy. "Tie a yellow ribbon" is the highlight, along with "I'm the leader of the gang" which is a good glam stomp though doesn't really sound much like Gary Glitter... but in hindsight that wasn't really a bad thing.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sequal

The only album from female duo Sequal is an excellent yet ultimately unsucessful slice of late 80s latin freestyle dance pop. The reason for their lack of chart success is because while songs like "Tell him i called" had an impression production coupled to a professional vocal performance they lacked the pop immediacy of some other (more successful) groups.

However failure in the pop charts didn't mean they didn't have success in the dance charts with some solid beats. Highlight is "Brand new love" a great track and performance that really can be savoured with its superb melody and chorus.

Friday, January 9, 2015

The 5th Birthday Playlist

This blog is 5 years old this week and to celebrate we thought long and hard about our top 10 artists of all time (which is actually pretty hard to do) and made a playlist out of them. So here is to the next 5 years!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Schizo Fun Addict vs The Bordellos

A split cassette is being released to raise funds for Save The Children, so think about it... a split cassette of cool indie noise and you raise money for charity too. Now that sir is the coolest thing you can ever think of, even more than a bar which only sells cereal!

So here is a little sample. Schizo Fun Addict's "AM story" is spacey and full of electric atmosphere and "Endorphin portal" is fractured and edgy moving into tasty electro beats. The Bordellos' "Hit it" is raw and superbly garagey. "A little sadness" simple and reflective. A great mix of styles and music and cooler than... you know.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Movie Review : Foxy Brown (1974)

A blaxploitation movie starring Pam Grier this was a loose sequel to "Coffy" from 1973 and has a similar plot involving drugs, prostitution and pimps in outlandish outfits. And violence, lots of violence. Pam of course is the heroine and is a one woman fighting machine as she seeks to avenge her slain boyfriend, a government agent gunned down by the mob.

Amid a funky early 70s soundtrack she gets her revenge through a number of ever more grisly action set pieces. Its not a subtle movie thats for sure but is rightly held up as one of the best movies in its genre. Although fairly low budget and lacking the effects and polish of movies nowadays the movie is pretty hard hitting and showing stuff that would be largely shied from today (or hidden in a CGI fest).

Its a period film, and dated in so many ways but the outlandish early 70s feel is a large part of the charm. Its plot is pretty ridiculous if you stop to think about it but that would be largely missing the point. Its a fantasy. So get your jive ass down the video store brother.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Ch-ch-changes

This blog began at the start of January 2010 and so will celebrate its 5th birthday in a couple of days. Throughout that time the blog has reviewed hundreds of albums and singles and posted hundreds of music videos. Now this is not going to change...

However i think it is time to change things a little and throw in a little more pop culture into the mix. So this blog will also review some movies too occasionally, these will be cult-y (or just painfully obscure and weird) films of course. Sometimes there will be a music tie-in but not always. Now one movie i've not yet seen - but the trailer looks awesome is...

An Apple A Day : More Pop-Psych Sounds From The Apple Era 1967-1969 (RPM)

This is volume 2 in RPM's collection of re-releases (and in some cases releasing for the first time) of songs by artists on the Beatle's Apple Records in the late 60s. Bands and artists include the likes of the Iveys (later Badfinger), Gallagher & Lyle and the wonderfully named Turquoise. As with the first volume some of the previously unreleased tracks sound like they should have remained so but some of the others are wonderful.

Best tracks are The Iveys with their psychedelic pop rush of "black and white rainbow" and Denis Couldry's wonderful "I am nearly there", all deadpan vocals and tempo changes. Majority One's "Charlotte Rose" has plenty of psychedelic whimsy and great 60s pop moments. Its a mixed bag, like a mix of sweets you used to get from the shop as a kid. Sometimes the sweet shop owner would put in a couple of sweets you wouldn't like but you just knew that the good ones would make up for it.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Top 5 records of December (2014)

For completion.

1 - its different now - THE ICE CHOIR
2 - girl who got away - DIDO
3 - beautiful - JESSICA MAUBOY
4 - ROYAL BLOOD
5 - creation - THE PIERCES